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How to Freeze Mushrooms


Frozen porcini mushrooms
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You can dry most mushrooms successfully, but not all of them. Some types of mushrooms will have a much better texture if you freeze them instead. And while some mushrooms are better cooked before they are frozen, others are fine to freeze raw.

Freezing Raw Mushrooms

Grocery store button mushrooms, creminis and portobellas (which are simply mature creminis) are cultivated mushrooms that can be frozen raw or cooked. Hen of the woods and maitake mushrooms freeze well raw. Wild mushrooms in the slimy-capped Suillus genus are tasty, but have such a high moisture content that they are almost impossible to dehydrate well - these are definitely better preserved by freezing them raw.

With both raw and cooked mushrooms the goal when freezing them is to prevent the mushrooms sticking together in a big clump. When it comes time to use them in a recipe, you want to be able to take out just what you need and not have to thaw an entire brick of frozen food. With raw mushrooms, freezing them in a single layer first prevents that problem.

Freezing Raw Mushrooms

  • Clean the mushrooms.
  • Chop the mushrooms into slices or dice. You can always chop them up smaller when you use them. For now, just aim for pieces that are no more than 1/2-inch thick.
  • Spread the mushroom pieces in a single layer on a cookie sheet or large plate. It is okay if the pieces touch, but they should not overlap. Freeze for 2 hours.
  • Transfer the frozen mushrooms to freezer containers. Because they were frozen in a single layer first, the pieces will stay loose and individual in the containers.

Freezing Cooked Mushrooms

Grocery store button mushrooms, shiitakes, and wild mushrooms including oyster, chicken of the woods and tooth mushrooms can have a better texture when you finally use them if they are cooked before they are frozen.

  • Clean the mushrooms.
  • Chop the mushrooms into small pieces or slivers (you'll be cutting them up into smaller bits than for the raw method above).
  • Heat a little oil or butter in a skillet over medium low heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms first release their liquid and then reabsorb it.
  • Let the cooked mushrooms cool to room temperature. Transfer the cooled mushrooms into small freezer containers. I recommend no larger than 1-cup size containers because really, how many cooked mushrooms are you going to use in most recipes?.
  • Alternatively, put the mushrooms into freezer bags in a layer not more than 1/2-inch thick. Store the freezer bags horizontally. What you'll end up with is a frozen mushroom "pancake" that you can easily break up into pieces and take out only what you need.
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